STAFF and students from the University of Winchester have joined the Energy and Environment team and taken part in the Big Hog-Friendly Litter Pick Challenge.

These litter picks are aimed at helping the city’s hedgehog population by cleaning up their neighbourhood and avoiding wildlife getting trapped in litter, leading to injury or even death.

Hampshire Chronicle: Volunteers from the University of Winchester helped with the Big Hog-Friendly Litter Pick ChallengeVolunteers from the University of Winchester helped with the Big Hog-Friendly Litter Pick Challenge (Image: University of Winchester)Around 20 took part in the two litter picks in November, bagging up 18 sacks of rubbish weighing more than 30kg.

The Big Hog Friendly Litter Pick Challenge is run by Hedgehog Friendly Campus and supported by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS).

Hedgehog numbers are in decline and litter poses a hazard to the prickly creatures - they can get their heads stuck in tins, plastic bags, binders from drinks cans or discarded yoghurt pots.

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The volunteers ventured out and collected refuse in West Hill Cemetery, Clifton Terrace, Oram's Arbour, Erskine Road, Romsey Road, Nursery Gardens, Milnthorpe Lane, Nursery Gardens and St James Cemetery.

Winchester holds Hedgehog Friendly Campus Gold Status by the BHPS.

In recent years students and staff have created hedgehog-friendly habitats, set up feeding stations and helped to survey hedgehog activity on campus.

In co-operation with the neighbouring Royal Hampshire County Hospital, the university also installed the city’s first road signs requesting drivers to slow down and beware hedgehogs crossing.